We sat down with one of Keylime's founding members, Karishma Sangtani, to discuss her tattoos, review process and her new project-cum-persona, Hey Guys, I'm Blond(e).
Karishma hides her face to remain anonymous in public
Karishma Sangtani is a music journalist mogul who needs no introduction. Much of her career has been stripped bare for the public to see; from her infamous drunk texts to Ari Lennox to her legendary escape from a 360 deal with DJBooth, Karishma Sangtani's name is uttered in hushed voices with deference to a God. She is a myth, her story is an oral tradition handed down the generations despite her best efforts to hide from the public eye. In this, her first major interview in eight years since her breakout project Let the Sun-Flower, we hope to shed some light on the much misunderstood legend.
It's a metaphor.
Karishma is blond(e) now. She needs you to know that. And we're not talking Goldilocks, barbie gold, L'Oreal advert kinda blond(e); we're talking straight platinum blond(e) bitch, we're talking pornstar blond(e), we're talking Artemis moon goddess blond(e); Karishma isn't playing around. With enough piercings to suggest that she needs to find a new less invasive procrastination method to cope with the stress of her degree, Karishma is adamant that this revolutionary change in appearance has a particular purpose. Karishma takes her art seriously and from the empty bottles of hair dye in her student room it is evident she has committed to her new project.
"So, what exactly is your project?"
"Well, I'd say you delving into shades of silver but, yeah, sure."
"... it's a metaphor."
"Have you seen my tattoo?"
Karishma points to a drawing of a cartoonish sun on her ankle; a strange cookie dough cutter mark just above the hump on the side of her foot. It's strange, there's something hypnotic about it the way it draws the light from the room into a singular perfect circle; ink bursting out the lines; there's a strange boundless energy to it. (Karishma slaps my hand away when I try to touch it). There's an unornamented joy to it. Its simplicity, the five year old scribble of it infuses it with the freedom of youth... (Karishma smiles)
"I told you; it's a metaphor."
Karishma sips her chai
Karishma tells me about the ambition of her upcoming project. She hopes people will find comfort in it, that they treat it like a close friend- make fun of it endlessly and share with it their most intimate moments. Hey Guys, I'm Blond(e) is a highly ambitious project that is perhaps very much of its time. There appears to be no guarantee it will age well, after all, there are only so many times you can act like you're the only one who loves Ocean Vuong or say that Shea Butter Baby was one of the best albums of the decade. Karishma sips her chai in complete silence. Karishma is done taking shit. This new project is unapologetic; it makes no pretension; it just is. When asking where this confidence came from she remains sparse in her answers, gesturing at half told stories and semi coherent rants about Little Simz.
"I can only last about four seconds"
Talking to Karishma it's easy to understand that she is very selective with who she reviews for Keylime. Most artists are not worth the 250 words of the instagram daily reviews let alone a full article.
"If your song is wack I can only last about four seconds before I dip out."
Every song the Keylime team reviews has to pass the immortalised, 'four second test' by Karishma before it can be safely disseminated for public consumption.
"What about the artists you do like?"
"What about Kojey?"
"Where can we see your articles about them?"
"Have I shown you my new belly button piercing?"
"I know you've been meaning to do one on the political overtones of Indian Hip Hop?"
"Have I shown you my new septum ring?"
"There are rumours you're going to collaborate on a Brent Faiyaz piece."
"I think I want another tattoo but I'm not sure what to get."
My lines of questioning get me nowhere. Karishma Sangtani is an unknowable entity. She inspires, defies belief and drunk texts Ari Lennox so often we have to confiscate her phone on nights out...
"This project, Hey Guys, I'm Blond(e), what exactly is it?"
"I don't know yet. I'm excited to find out."